As the only hostel specialist, Hostelworld needed to sell this form of accommodation to young travellers. And to do that it had to overcome their preconceptions that hostels were dirty, noisy and unsafe by explaining that in fact they were clean and luxurious.
At first glance that didn’t seem like a job for ‘Branded content’, which is supposed to be subtly branded and entertaining rather than hard-sell.
But by inviting a series of famous, topical celebrities to stay in hostels and document their adventures, we were able to create video content that not only engaged millions of young people but also landed hard-selling hostel proof points.‘Youth hostelling with with Chris Eubank’ brought an internet in-joke to life. ‘In da hostel with 50 Cent’ saw the bankrupt rapper showing us around his new crib – a Barcelona hostel.
And our Charlie Sheen clickbait grabbed viewers’ attention before revealing that like Charlie, hostels was actually much nicer than they thought.
All this not only engaged out audience at scale, but changed their perceptions of hostels, driving visits to Hostelworld’s site and app and helping the business accelerate its growth.
Who says branded content can’t sell hard? The story of Hostelworld’s ‘Unexpected Guests’ suggests it can.
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(Please note: parts of this case study may have been redacted for confidentiality purposes.)